Simpson Desert closed over summer to ensure visitor safety

Date posted: 19 November 2012

The South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) has announced that the Simpson Desert will again be closed during the hottest months of the year to ensure the safety of visitors and emergency personnel.

The closure will apply from 1 December to 15 March and affects the Simpson Desert Conservation Park and Regional Reserve in South Australia.

DEWNR District Ranger Tony Magor said it was unfortunate the area needed to be closed during summer, but was necessary to prevent fatalities from occurring.

“Temperatures in the Simpson Desert during summer are extreme, with daytime temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees Celsius common,” he said.

“During this period, dunes are soft and constantly changing shape, increasing the chance of vehicles becoming bogged and people becoming stranded.

“High temperatures also lead to an increased chance of vehicle failure.

“Most people that cross the desert during summer are from overseas, and many do not have the driving experience for such a crossing, or a properly equipped vehicle with radio communications and recovery gear in case of an emergency.

“At a time when there are very few vehicles in the desert to provide assistance in a timely manner, this is potentially a fatal situation, especially for the inexperienced, ill-prepared visitor.

“This high risk also extends to emergency personnel who are called out to help stranded visitors during this period.”

Mr Magor said the park closure would not have a significant impact on local businesses, as previously, less than 35 vehicles traversed the Simpson Desert each year during summer.

“The first four closures were a success from a public safety perspective with visitors still able to make the most of a visit to the Dalhousie Springs,” he said.

Information signs have been installed at strategic locations to inform visitors of the closure.

Witjira National Park and the campground at Dalhousie Springs to the west of the Simpson Desert will not be affected by the closure.

For more details, refer to our park closures page.

Media Contact

Jenny Barker
Senior Communications Officer, SA Arid Lands Region
Jenny.Barker@sa.gov.au
(08) 8463 3354
0402 695 193